Storing Your Family History Collection

family papers and photosDear Donia,
How should I store my family history collection?

Q. Dear Donia,

I have little space in which to store my family history collection, numerous & various papers, photos, bibles, etc. I have encased most in polypropylene sleeves, from there I used Tyveck envelopes, labled and then stored it in a very handy and sturdy diaper box, which is just the right width and height. (The large ones that multiple packages of diapers come in). I have the boxed collection in my closet up on a shelf, so as not to worry about water and mold damage. I would like to know if this way is the best for my collection to last until it can be stored (donated) to a better facility with the right atmosphere for it to last and be available to anyone doing research on my family name and/or other researchers, college students, professors, etc.)?
P.S. I cannot, at this time, store my photos in an acid-free box.—Cathy

A. Dear Cathy,

Thank you for such a great question. First off, congratulations on having a great family collection and for caring about how you are storing it! Although not perfect, you are taking all the right first steps. You are thinking about storing them in an organized fashion in an area of your house that has a more stable climate than a basement or an attic and is away from water—wonderful. The only thing I may change at the moment is to get some acid-free, lignin-free, buffered interleaving paper for some of the more acidic papers. The interleaving paper will help absorb the acids being generated by the paper and will protect it if there is a spike in humidity and if there are any acids being given off by the diaper box. You can get a good 8 1/2 x 11 Permalife Bond paper for this from our sponsor Hollinger Metal Edge. Otherwise, keep following your good instincts.

If you have any other questions, please don't hesitate to ask.